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Artifact of the Day – Kayak – Walrus – Spirit Transformation

August 11, 2015

Today I found what must be the most powerful artifact I’ve ever found in my life. When it emerged from context 15058, I thought it might be a toy kayak… the view I had was in the left-most photo below.  When I rotated the artifact, I saw a deeply incised face looking back at me that took my breath away. You can see this face in the center photo; John Smith is holding the piece.   When I showed the artifact to Rick Knecht in the field (one of our project leaders who must be the world’s authority on archaeological material culture of Alaska Natives) Rick pointed out the walrus at the end of the piece, with eyes, nostrils, and tusks that wrapped around the bottom (see right-most photo). It was so amazing to have John observe the piece; he described it as a spirit figure…. but wasn’t sure whether the individual was wearing labrets or not.

I was going to write about mussels tonight, but that will have to wait for another time.  I also was going to clean a starry flounder, another task undone…  but in the meantime, I want to send a “shout out” to my son, Erik; today is his 25th birthday.  Happy Birthday Erik!

Madonna Moss





One Comment leave one →
  1. Terry Fifield permalink
    August 19, 2015 11:23

    Waiting for the mussel counts is not a problem. These kinds of discoveries, and in the presence of so knowledgeable a set of experts kind of makes you tingle. I’m loving the accessibility of the research process and experience. Thanks!

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